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CES / T.H.E. Show 2007
Five Easy Pieces
Snippets from 2007 CES

Bonus Coverage By Phil Gold
Click here to e-mail journalist.

1. Tasty iPod treats

  With iPod accessories everywhere, where should we look for the classiest implementations? First try Meridian for the fire-engine-red video iPod docking station, the MV-D1. This is no me-too product. This little baby can upsample video to 1080p and clean up a lot of digital artifacts and reduce video noise at the same time, while also providing a 2 channel analog signal like other docks. Controls are simple - you get volume plus buttons for source, format and connect. Power comes from a USB connection or DC.

Another interesting product from Meridian is the MPMax 221 Media Player Link which they claim offers studio quality Analog to Digital conversion at 24 bit 96kHz, taking an analog line or headphone signal in and producing a digital output to feed a Meridian Active Speaker system. This same box can also convert an S/PDIF optical input to S/PDIF Coaxial output. Again, power comes from a USB connection or DC.

If it's just sound you're after, check out MSB's Digital iLink which they claim is their highest quality digital source and the world's first iPod docking station with a true digital audio output. MSB will modify an iPod for the princely sum of $199 and the Digital iLink runs $1995 (including a voucher to convert your iPod) or you can buy a package of 80GB iPod and Digital iLink for $2349. To add to its charms, the iLink can transmit the digital signal using RF technology so you can move around the room and maintain your connection. If you want a wired connection you can go TosLink, coaxial or balanced AES/EBU, preferably into one of MSB's high end DACs. For best performance you should rip your music in Apple Lossless Encoding, giving you the same bitstream encoded on your Redbook CDs.


2. Classy Speakers from Revel


Revel's Kevin Voecks introduced their new Ultima 2 speaker line (Salon 2 - $20k, Studio 2 - $16k, Voice 2 - $8k plus stand and Gem 2 - $5k each). Not just eye candy, these are a serious assault on the high end, featuring higher output levels, optimized dispersion characteristics and minimal diffraction. The cabinets are very stiff, comprising multiple layers of MDF bent into shape. Ultima 2 comes eight years after the introduction of the original Ultima series. The top of the line Salon 2, fed by Mark Levinson electronics sounded magnificent on a Haydn Quartet recording I fished out of my bag, as well as on Kevin's own selection of silver spinners. The scale of the music was well captured, as well as the timbre of the instruments and a realistic dynamic range. They deserve a longer listen. While these are not inexpensive speakers, I believe they are punching well above their weight. Kudos to Kevin.


3. Lyngdorf - Pioneers in digital amplification

Now here's a company to watch. Peter Lyngdorf was the developer of the ground breaking Tact Audio Millennium Amp, the world's first fully digital amplifier. Now he heads his own company, Lyngdorf Audio, which employees a team of over 20 engineers to develop a full range of interesting audio products, including the Mk IV version of the Millennium Amp ($15,990). The Millennium ADC is a matching Analog / Digital converter available with ($9480) or without ($7490) an internal phono stage offering 8 different de-emphasis curves.

But it is two newer products that catch the eye. First is the True Digital integrated Amplifier, the TDAI 2200 ($4490 to $7370 depending on options). In one compact case the TDAI 2200 features a highly efficient amp capable of driving difficult loads, and a DSP section for equalization and room correction. The TDAI 2200 replaces a D/A converter a preamp and a power amp, requiring only a CD transport as a source. The price goes up if you add the A/D conversion module, which allows 3 unbalanced and one balanced analog input, or the RoomPerfect system for automated room correction for multiple listening positions.


The second product, rather dwarfed next to Peter, is the open baffle DP-1 speaker, optimized to partner the TDAI 2200 Integrated Amp. This two-way dipole speaker was making very encouraging noises in the kind of room where others were having little luck. I just love the look of these things, and I'm going to ask Peter to send me a pair with amp so I can report back to you in greater detail.


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